Re: Be a bit more openminded ?


Gary DeBock
 

<<  Getting back to what does or does not qualify as an ultralight, Neil brought up something I've long had issues with. It seems inconsistent to allow modifications to official ultralights in the "unlimited" category while still excluding those radios that have certain features that for some reason at one time struck someone as going beyond their concept of ultralight. In other words, assuming I had the technical ability, I could modify an official ultralight to have SSB and sync, and my loggings would be accepted in the unlimited category, yet a radio that came from the manufacturer with those same features would never be qualified as an official ultralight and loggings from it would therefore be disallowed even from the unlimited category.  >>
 
Hi Jay,
 
To allow Kevin to finally concentrate on his paid job without distraction (as opposed to yesterday), I'll be happy to answer your above comments.
 
SSB and synch detector functions are forbidden in the Ultralight Unlimited Class, just like they are in the Barefoot Class. No technically-minded hobbyist would go to the trouble of creating a modified radio that would automatically be disqualified for Ultralight Award purposes.
 
The Unlimited Class was originally created by John Bryant and me primarily to encourage antenna experimentation. Although other modifications like narrow IF filters are also popular, antenna testing was the main objective. Several of the loopstick and tuned passive loop antenna designs created here in our ULR group have proven popular among the general AM-DXing community, and primarily because of our Unlimited Class, we are a major center of enthusiasm in the AM-DXing experimental world. Most observers would conclude that John Bryant's original goal has been very successfully achieved. Unlimited Class DXers compete only against each other for Ultralight Award purposes, and never against Barefoot Class DXers. Nobody joins the category except by choice, and we never compare "apples to oranges" for Ultralight Award purposes.
 
The Ultralight Definition criteria are essential for us to have a separate niche group. The guidelines are not difficult or burdensome, but they are also not suitable for everybody. Although our group is one of the major enthusiasm centers in the hobby and is growing at very fast rate, several individuals have repeatedly criticized the Definition criteria, expressing their dissatisfaction over certain restrictions. Frankly, the restrictions are necessary for us to develop a separate Ultralight group identity, and are unlikely to be changed. We have always encouraged open discussion of all aspects of Ultralight DXing and will continue to do so, but for those few non-DXers who insist on re-hashing the same complaints repeatedly, a decision to move on to a different Yahoo group would probably be the best choice for all concerned.
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 
       
 
In a message dated 11/17/2010 9:48:58 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, yahoogroups@... writes:

 

On Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:11, dhsatyadhana <dhsatyadhana@...> wrote:

Thank you for your post.  Perhaps a few words of explanation may be helpful.  Some here on the Group have expressed dissatisfaction with what is and is not an Ultralight before: that is fine, and I truly mean that.  However, I ask members to bear in mind that the definition of an Ultralight has been established for some time and to be realistic about their own preferences being incorporated, and at some point I believe it's time to stop belaboring a particular issue.

For me, part of the problem is that the "definitions" are rather wishy-washy. Perhaps it's my background in aerospace and the medical device industries coming into play here, but words like "approximately" and "usually" don't make for particularly good "definitions". I think everyone would agree there needs to be a limit. The definition should clearly and unequivocally state that limit. "The volume of the radio shall not exceed 20 cubic inches." 

Rule #2 states, "It is an entertainment-grade radio, as opposed to enthusiast's radio. As such, it will usually not have AM synchronous detection, SSB clarification or other specialized features." The "usually" opens the door to maybe, sometimes, it might have one or more of these features. If the definition is intended to exclude any radio with sync or SSB it should clearly state exactly that. Saying it "usually" doesn't have these features opens the door to endless discussion of the topic.

In regards to this rule, I would argue the variable bandwidths afforded by several of the DSP-equipped radios would qualify as "specialized features" typically found only in enthusiast's radios. I know of only a few portable radios I would consider consumer grade that offer even two bandwidths, and none of them are remotely close to pocket-sized. Aside from the DSP-equipped radios, the only radios I know of that offer more than two bandwidths are enthusiast or communication grade receivers. This is an advanced feature that places these radios head and shoulders above the capabilities of the more pedestrian ultralights 

Aside from the number of filter bandwidths available in these radios, I would submit that any radio providing only a 2 or 3 kHz filter would not provide much in the way of "entertainment" listening and would necessarily be disqualified as not being an entertainment-grade radio. Indeed, I would place the narrow bandwidths in the same category as SSB and sync insofar as offering reasonable reception of exceedingly marginal signals that would be impossible without these advanced features not typically found in entertainment radios. The fact that the DSP chips make these features available at comparatively cheap prices should not be a consideration. Theoretically, some cheap circuit might make it feasible to add SSB or sync to a sub-$100 pocket radio. To exclude that radio and not the ones providing five filters with bandwidths down to 1kHz strikes me as inconsistent and arbitrary.

Please note, I'm not so much arguing for the inclusion of radios offering SSB or sync as I am for the exclusion of DSP-equipped radios offering multiple filter bandwidths. This is an enthusiast type feature included only because the DSP happens to make it cheap to do so.  

Rule #3 says the radio must be "readily available to the hobby in new or used markets at the time of its approval". "Readily available" is another of those imprecise phrases that can create confusion. The SRF-59, being available at K-mart and other department stores, clearly qualifies as readily available. I'm not so sure a radio available only from a small handful of ebay merchants located halfway around the world can reasonably be called readily available. Same for radios available only in one island nation and from a single obscure merchant for the rest of the world. 

I'm not sure this is all that important, but it's one of the rules, so...

Not that it will be the source of any confusion, but I'm interested in the reasoning behind rule #6, no "novelty radios". What possible difference can it make what the outside of the radio looks like? As long as it meets all the other criteria, should it really matter if the case is made to resemble a pack of Camels?
 
Though perhaps arbitrarily selected, the limits in the definitions form the basis of the approach to this niche of the hobby.  Again, opinion posts disagreeing with that basis are fine, but at some point they start to detract from the operation and enjoyment of the Group.  If a post goes further and, in my opinion, essentially dares the Moderator to either take action lest the protest continue, at some point a decision has to be made.

I'm not aware of the history of Neil's discussion of these issues. Obviously that does enter into the situation. I guess I would have expected to see some type of clear warning that continued discussion of the topic would be grounds for suspension. Maybe I missed that. 

I've been a moderator in a couple other groups for several years. Over that time I've only suspended two individuals (not counting spammers). One was repeatedly warned that his behavior was out of line and would result in suspension should it continue. The other replied to a technical message rejection with a suggestion that I do something rude and anatomically impossible. That resulted in immediate and irrevocable loss of posting rights. 

Getting back to what does or does not qualify as an ultralight, Neil brought up something I've long had issues with. It seems inconsistent to allow modifications to official ultralights in the "unlimited" category while still excluding those radios that have certain features that for some reason at one time struck someone as going beyond their concept of ultralight. In other words, assuming I had the technical ability, I could modify an official ultralight to have SSB and sync, and my loggings would be accepted in the unlimited category, yet a radio that came from the manufacturer with those same features would never be qualified as an official ultralight and loggings from it would therefore be disallowed even from the unlimited category.

It seems to me a reasonable compromise to the SSB controversy would be to allow loggings in the stock category only from unmodified versions of those radios on the approved list. For the unlimited category, any radio that met the under 20 cubic inches criteria would be allowed. I suggest the multi-bandwidth DSP radios would properly belong in the latter category.

  -- Jay

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